Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Small Manitou Stone at Zigzag

This small Manitou Stone is on the edge of a marshy spot where a small stream begins (and flows down two different sides of this hilltop). The zigzag row of stones borders the stream and other rows of stones branch out from it along the course of the stream that flows to the floodplain, the size of the stones chosen becoming larger. In a way the zigzag stones are like a garden border between certain plants that like to have their feet wet and those that don't but the row is also like a hearth, separating (yet still somehow connecting) the space on side you want to burn at a certain time, for a certain reason . The row of stones is carefully made, smaller stone serpents that make up larger stone serpents related to the Great or Horned Serpent that lives in the underworld that is sometimes a watery world, a protective Spirit against the Thunder Birds or Beings - and that zigzag could also be lightning or Spiritual power just as it is in pictographs and petroglyphs.
Inside that wet zone are groupings of stones, some placed on boulders, some more hidden than others and with one or two outstanding examples of a Tobacco Sacrifice Effigy Stone, illustrating a purposful placement of probably humanly modified stones, a Bear and Deer Effigy, the bear's head a large cobble balanced on a boulder. I began to look for this Indigenous Diagnostic in other stonework and have observed many ever since that first day in May 1996:

More details of this little spot:

Monday, February 26, 2018

3D canvas created by spirit beings

    My friend Dr. Rock Lobster writes to me a while back:
1.) “The placement of rock art motifs/panels/stone features on the landscape is selective (the pattern is not always obvious, but there are physiologically-informed and culturally-mediated reasons why certain locales are selected over others);
2. Rock art motifs/panels/stone features on the landscape exhibit self-similar properties at different scales (the Russian doll-within-doll idea is that the big natural bedding plane, that resembles a snake, contains numerous painted depictions of smaller rattle snakes);
3.) The rock/terrain surface is as significant as the rock art motifs/panels/stone features (e.g., it provides a pre-figured 3D canvas created by spirit beings that then need people to reciprocate likewise);
4.) Rock art motifs/panels/stone features on the landscape are interactive, even long after their production (e.g., live snakes coming in and out of the "dead" natural one);

5.) Bodily movements in and around rock art panels and stone features on the landscape are significant (note how your snake head changed when you crossed the threshold/veil). So all-in-all, there is good reason to claim that rock art/stone features in its original physical context has a certain degree of agency, one that facilitates informed visitors (informed by having in-depth knowledge of the culture involved) to relive certain experiences and beliefs of the original makers...” - J.R. Lobster (pers. comm.)

    A Moravian Missionary wrote about the ability of an “Indian acquaintance and friend” to do much the same using face paint for an unspecified “dance.”
“As I was once resting in my travels at the house of a trader who lived at some distance from an Indian town, I went in the morning to visit an Indian acquaintance and friend of mine. I found him engaged in plucking out his beard, preparatory to painting himself for a dance which was to take place the ensuing evening. Having finished his head dress, about an hour before sunset, he came up, as he said, to see me, but I and my companions judged that he came to be seen. To my utter astonishment, I saw three different paintings or figures on one and the same face. He had, by his great ingenuity and judgment in laying on and shading the different colours, made his nose appear, when we stood directly in front of him, as if it were very long and narrow, with a round knob at the end, much like the upper part of a pair of tongs.
 On one cheek there was a red round spot, about the size of an apple, and the other was done in the same manner with black. The eye-lids, both the upper and lower ones, were reversed in the colouring. When we viewed him in profile on one side, his nose represented the beak of an eagle, with the bill rounded and brought to a point, precisely as those birds have it, though the mouth was somewhat open. The eye was astonishingly well done, and the head, upon the whole, appeared tolerably well, shewing a great deal of fierceness. When we turned round to the other side, the same nose now resembled the snout of a pike, with the mouth so open, that the teeth could be seen. He seemed much pleased with his execution, and having his looking-glass with him, he contemplated his work, seemingly with great pride and exultation. He asked me how I liked it? I answered that if he had done the work on a piece of board, bark, or anything else, I should like it very well and often look at it. But, asked he, why not so as it is? Because I cannot see the face that is hidden under these colours, so as to know who it is. Well, he replied, I must go now, and as you cannot know me to-day, I will call to-morrow morning before you leave this place. He did so, and when he came back he was washed clean again.
Thus, for a single night's frolic, a whole day is spent in what they call dressing, in which each strives to outdo the other (page 102).”
   John Gottlieb Ernestus Heckewelder
History, Manners, and Customs of the Indian Nations  Who Once Inhabited Pennsylvania and the Neighbouring States
    Every once in a while, I wonder if some Ceremonial Stone Landscape Features had at one time (or at certain times?) had also been painted, as documented in certain places.

    Kevin Callahan: “In the 1840's artist Henry Lewis painted a scene of the Red Rock published in his book The Valley of the Mississippi Illustrated. The boulder in the lower left corner next to the tree is thought to be the Red Rock at its original location several miles south of St. Paul on the Mississippi river:”

“This painted boulder has been moved many times since then to protect it from damage by steamboat passengers and others. One individual apparently even wanted to blow it up with dynamite as a pagan idol. It now resides in front of the United Methodist Church of Newport, Minnesota.”

"The beliefs and customs surrounding the Red Rock is typical of a wider rock art and religious phenomenon in the Upper Midwest - namely Native American religious customs and beliefs that concerned glacial erratics and other significant stones within the sacred landscape which were often painted and decorated as part of their religion."

“Other celebrated spots in the Dakota sacred landscape were the Pipestone Quarry with its enormous granite boulders called "the Three Maidens" which at one time were literally surrounded by a circle of petroglyphs, and Carvers Cave in St. Paul which was covered in petroglyphs that were recorded by Theodore H. Lewis.”
"Wakinyan, or the Thunder-bird had its chief dwelling place in Brown's Valley in far western Minnesota. Brown's Valley had several boulders covered with thunderbird symbols - sometimes referred to in rock art literature as "turkey tracks."

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Short Walk (Watertown CT)

   Three days into the next round of treatment for Lyme Disease, self injecting IV ceftriaxone into a tube that starts near my elbow and ends in my Vena Cava just above my heart, I used some really bad judgement and not only drove to the store but also decided to try a little walk. The medication is intended to kill those little snake-like and more drug resistant spirals of bacteria hiding out in my hips and knees and who knows where else (everywhere?), but it also kills all those good bacteria that help humans digest food in your "guts." It sort of felt like someone was constantly punching me in the abdomen and I was hoping the walk would change that.
    Well, it did. About ten minutes later it felt like someone was kicking me constantly in the abdomen. I struggled back up the hill thinking at least it's not raining - and right on cue the raindrops began to fall...

     I did take note of new survey flags, property orange, possibly perc-test white and protected wetland blue, but on the way back I just had to walk along the recently cleared "fence line" at the bulldozer edge of the 2 frontage acres carved flat into the landscape:
A Google image from Aug. 2017:
Yesterday: A very disturbed row of stones, but the suggestion of effigy stones, some with the suggestion of eyes, intenionally placed so the eyes are upward, a small snake-like line of stones on a triangular boulder...

I somehow didn't actually take the shot of the snake-head-like, composed to look snake-like with the triangular boulder in the foreground, with the body-like stone row behind it, but the sensation in my stomach had "kicked in" well before that and I just didn't even notice that I failed to capture it. I didn't even notice the white cobble of quartz in context at the time as I moved in for detail of the head-stone - or wonder if it was also a sort of grinding slick perhaps:
That could possibly be a White Ulstĭtlĭ', the "Jewel" found on the head of Horned Serpent known as the Cherokee Uktena - and the second one observed here, incorporated into these rows of stones.

I've got a collection started of "Adding Antlers Behind the Ulstĭtlĭ'" here:

What else about the row that suggests an Indigenous origin?
Lots of colorful stones and white quartz too, sometimes in those sort of "concentric circular" placement of stones similar to certain mound-like Ceremonial Stone Landscape features, Manitou Qussukquanash or "Sacred Stones."

Looking North:
Looking South: 
Looking at someone's "camp" hidden in the scrub trees: 

Maybe a Grinding Slick?
Is that the other hand-held stone still sitting beside it?

Wouldn't be the first one observed in the general area of what has become the Hamburger Edge of Watertown CT, my old hometown:

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Field Checking CT LiDar (Killingworth CT)

Without Leaving Home

     I was looking around at some Connecticut LiDar photos, drinking some coffee. I was looking here and there, various places, dreaming about walking around a stone wall or two, field checking and making some observations.
     And yes about how replicating the controlled burning practices of the Indigenous Peoples of Connecticut that would consume the barberry that the Deer Tick thrives in just might not be a bad idea...
     And Great (Stone) Serpents too, in part a prayer, in part fuel breaks which just might have been created, used and maintained for perhaps thousands of years...

   One of the places I've never been to was here: 
  I zoomed out:
I zoomed over, found one of my favorite Rivers
- and a bunch of interesting "Stoney" names: 
And a road that made me wonder why the road is named Blueberry Reserve:
And while I get no street side images for that road, I can glimpse "the main trail" that became a road, both sides bordered in stonework, look through the trees and underbrush at some of those "stone rows or enclosures" - Qusukqaniyutôk - undulating in height (like a snake crawling across the landscape among blueberry gardens)  in the distance. I just happened to land here:
And here: 
 And there:
I can see where the stone has been robbed: 
And I get to a gateway into one of the enclosures:

And you know what I am going to say about this one: 

I think I'll have a second cup and look around some more...

One of these days, I'm just going to have to drive by...